By Andrew Harris, photo by Melanie Hunt Streeter
Christmas 2021 was the 10 month anniversary of our first publishing, announcing that the Wellsville Sun had come into existence. That birth was rather spontaneous, a reaction to the end of Wellsville Regional News, something that left many without a truly local news source. Who knows what I was thinking because its been a blur since this introduction.
Now we enter a season of retrospect. What better than to read my commentary(in bold) on that very naïve introductory post, which you can read in full below.
Introducing the Wellsville Sun
It has been several years since the Wellsville Daily Reporter left town. As a lifelong resident, business owner, and community activist, the vacuum created by that loss is hard to overstate(I had no clue of the depth of that loss. Recently when myself and John Anderson attended the election results gathering in the county legislative chambers, one long-time legislator commented, “It has been ten years since the press attended this event!”) The community servant who stepped into the gap with Wellsville Regional News is truly one of the unsung heroes in our community, as he kept the information flowing. That effort has been noble and very generous (and usually thankless), but one man volunteering to try and keep people informed is not enough. Michael T. Baldwin has been invaluable in the success of this site. Simply put, without him and his help with the transition, the Wellsville Sun might night exist. Without his constant contributions and mentorship, the Wellsville Sun wouldn’t be nearly as successful.
The ethos of the Wellsville Sun is simple: To provide information and provide a bigger picture of Wellsville, New York through my sunny lens. Call it excess positivity or my real love for our little town, but the agenda is simple: To publish a daily page that accurately portrays this great place to live and work. While you will find traditional news, there will also be more local stories, interviews, art, and culture. This site will also work to help publicize charity efforts as well as provide an opportunity for advertising. How cute, I thought this would be a site focusing on just Wellsville. While the hometown surely dominates at times, this site has become much more of a county, and even regional site. One of the Wellsville Sun’s goals for 2022 is to provide a focus on Wellsville and Allegany County while increasing the sites regional news reporting.
You won’t find national news stories, a comment section, or pop-up ads, or paywalls(Very proud that this is all still true. If you want quality national news in a readable daily form, don’t miss the Wide World of News.) This site will provide content that shines daylight on four main topics: News, Politics, Art, and Food. In the News section you will find Wellsville, Allegany County, and New York State related news based on press-releases and local reporting. Politics will be limited to what’s going on within the county, with the goal being improved transparency and dignified elections. The Art section will give voice to the many local artists by providing exposure to the public, and a platform to make sales. Last but not least is Food: Wellsville is sorely under-rated as a food destination, and we plan to help restaurateurs rebuild and prosper. Sadly the food part of the plan hasn’t happened, and for simple reasons: the pandemic. Restaurants are hyper-impacted by the public health crisis. As one major local culinary destination explained to me this summer: “This place is so short-staffed, we can barely handle the customers that we have, advertising more more business isn’t an option.” But being an optimist, I hope that our mission to highlight the Wellsville area culinary scene comes to fruition before Summer 2022.
A community news source that acts as an advocate for people, government, and businesses is our mission. We do intend to also be a profitable enterprise, partnering with local businesses to provide space that will improve their bottom line, and in turn grow our economy. While our advertising structure is still being decided, any interested businesses are encouraged to contact us for a personal meeting. The response to advertise on the Wellsville Sun has been amazing, so much more than expected. With minimal, well placed advertisements, this site stands out from the mess of advertisements seen on other regional news sites. Our advertising rates are much lower than the ‘established media’, and our site is experiencing exponential growth in readership. Now is the time to advertise with this site; where else can you reach fifteen thousand, or more, potential customers daily for less than $10 per day?
The power of the press is hard to overestimate, especially in a small town. We’ve all seen the results of social media posts, national news warfare, and the general disinformation that has undermined the integrity of the press. The Wellsville Sun intends to be much different. This new page will shine a positive light on this great place and work to become a force for making it even greater. I hope the impact as been positive. The news isn’t always positive though and that is definitely a major lesson learned. When the Wellsville Sun was being introduced, the concept of obituaries hadn’t been considered. Local funeral homes quickly contacted me and we started posting most local obituaries. Very soon the obituary was a friend, or family member, and of course many Covid-19 victims. It is a sobering part of the work knowing who died each day and realizing how constant grief is in our daily life.
We are accepting press releases, local event notifications, obituaries, opinions, and offers for collaboration and advertising. I look forward to hearing from you and rebuilding the fourth estate in our community
Thank you for reading!!